Saturday, March 30, 2013

Legal Self Defence Weapons in Singapore

It all started when the goldfish went bump in the night.

The kids were in bed. My wife and I were chatting in the bedroom, when suddenly we heard the sound of something falling to the floor. I walked out to the living room and quickly determined the source of the sound. My son had left three goldfish on the dining table. Now there were two fish on the table and one on the floor. The question was, why?

All the windows of our home were closed, and the fans were off. There was no draft or airflow, so it couldn't have blown down. I turned on the light and examined the table carefully, because my first hypothesis was that some ants may have tried to carry the fish off. But there were only one or two tiny ants on the scene. At this point my wife joined me and her conclusion was much more sinister: there must be someone in the house!

Once such a thought has been implanted, there is nothing to do but search the house. Despite my cynicism, I figured if we are going to do this we better do it right. So I looked around the bedroom for some sort of weapon. After several minutes, the best I could come up with was a tactical pen and a tactical torch. My wife had an air freshener. I told her to get her phone instead and be ready to call the police if anything happened. That is when I found out that she thinks the number for the police is 995. Oh dear.

So I went from room to room, flashlight in one hand and pen in the other, and we eventually concluded that there was nobody in the house. So we still have no idea how the fish fell to the floor. (As you can see from the picture, it was not exactly on the edge of the table.) But it also got me thinking, if there were a real intruder one day, what do we have at our disposal to defend ourselves?

"We need a baseball bat." My wife was clear and adamant on this point. Personally, I don't think a baseball bat is a very useful weapon in Singapore's cramped living quarters. There is hardly anywhere in the flat that you can swing it properly. I also ruled out knives (although the kitchen has a couple). If someone were really to break and enter, the last thing I would want to do is to introduce lethal weapons into what might otherwise have been meant as a burglary.

My personal preference would be to get a pepper spray, but unfortunately it is #11 on the Police's list of prohibited items (which also includes things like air pistols, crossbows, paintball guns, knuckle dusters and tasers). So I've been thinking, what's the best substitute? Among all the aerosols, I'm thinking that Insecticide is probably the most poisonous, although my top choice at the moment would be an analgesic spray like Deep Heat. I've never had this in my eye before, but I bet it would hurt, although it shouldn't do permanent damage. And you can easily find it in a pharmacy.
For added effect, you can combine it with a lighter for a homemade flame-thrower, but I'm not sure if your fire insurance would cover such an event.

You might want to prime the lighter first so that the flame is a lot higher (and further from your fingers so you don't burn them). This is a little trick I learned ages ago as a scout.

Alternatively, you can make your own pepper spray. Here's a recipe. But because your homemade spray obviously cannot be put into an aerosol, the range and duration of the blast would be less.

If you are really into it, and you want a weapon that cannot be turned against you, you can also pick up martial arts. Obviously this is a totally different level of investment and commitment than buying an aerosol. Here is a cool tool to help you select the right martial art for you. Based on its recommendation, I started Capoeira last year and really loved it, but I just don't have the time for this kind of long-term commitment. If only I had started earlier ... Instead, I shall send my kids for training.

Apart from the weapon, it's also useful to have a discrete way to call for help. Smartphones are great for this, unfortunately the police in Singapore still have not put out anything particularly useful in this respect. Hopefully they will soon - Guardly is one of many such Apps. It can transmit a request for help with your location, even if you are indoors.
MyForce is another example of a personal safety app

That's it for now. I will add to this list if I get better ideas.